Local government units (LGUs) will have to comply with the national government’s prioritization list in purchasing their own coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines, Malacañang said on Thursday.

In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said only the national government and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) can make the decision on which areas and sectors will be given priority.

“Well, siyempre po iyong mandato naman kung paano iro-roll out, iyan po ay desisyon pa rin ng national government at ng IATF. So, lahat po ng LGUs kinakailangang sumunod (Of course the manner by which the vaccines will be rolled out will be decided upon by the national government and the IATF. So, all LGUs need to follow),” he said.

Roque said Metro Manila, Region 4-A (Calabarzon), Cebu, and Davao will be among the areas prioritized in the government’s vaccination campaign since these are the areas with the highest number of Covid-19 cases.

As for sectors, he said front-liners including healthcare workers and uniformed personnel as well as the elderly and those with comorbidities will also be prioritized.

He also reminded LGUs that they have to procure vaccines through tripartite agreements with the national government and pharmaceutical companies.

“Hindi po sila makakabili ng bakuna on their own, kinakailangan pa rin ng pirma ng national government kasi lahat po ng bakuna ay binibenta on a government-to-government basis (They can’t purchase vaccines on their own, they need a signature from the national government because all vaccines are sold on a government-to-government basis),” he said.

Roque earlier welcomed efforts made by some LGUs to allocate funds to secure Covid-19 vaccines for their constituents.

Last Tuesday, Quezon City announced that they had signed a vaccine deal with British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

Stay vigilant

Meanwhile, Roque warned the public of the prevailing Covid-19 threat following reports that residents in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the least stringent classification, have been “lax” in following minimum health standards.

“Maski kayo po ay naka-MGCQ kinakailangan pa ring sumunod doon sa ating mga minimum health protocols, dahil eh kaya nga po mababa diyan sumusunod kayo dati sa mga minimum health protocols (Even if you are under MGCQ, you need to follow minimum health protocols, because the reason why you have low cases there is because you used to follow minimum health protocols),” he said.

As of Thursday, health authorities have logged a total of 482,083 confirmed Covid-19 cases with 9,356 deaths and 449,052 recoveries. (PNA)